Sunday: Hebrews 12:7
Verse 7: When believers suffer persecution or are forced to walk by faith through a painful trial they must not become bitter at God. The fact that He has allowed us to experience such adversity does not mean He has failed to care for us. Its not His fault that evil people rise up in anger when Christ is presented, and its not His fault that obtaining promises can be so difficult in a fallen world. But as our Father, He will use even those difficult circumstances to make us better. Paul teaches this same truth in Romans 8:28 when he says, And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. If the gospel is going to penetrate into a dark world, men and women must suffer because evil will always oppose them. If by prayer and obedience believers seek to bring Gods rule into their own lives, great internal battles must be fought against the flesh and the devil. Such sufferings are real and severe, yet in Gods providence they do not destroy us but rather mold us into the image of His Son (Ro 8:29).
Monday: Hebrews 12:7
Verse 7 (continued): After all, God used these same hostile forces to perfect His own Son to be our high priest (Heb 2:10; 5:2, 7-9; 7:28). In the same way when believers are persecuted or suffer the inner struggle of faith, the Holy Spirit takes control of the situation and works in us so that we are built up and not torn downthat which comes against us, in Gods hand, becomes discipline and refines us instead. This is why the author asked his readers to endure through their hardships. They could be certain that the Fathers loving hand was using it to build them up just like a good parent trains a child. And a good parent will make sure discipline is applied to every one of their children according to the need of that child. Not one will escape. Because each is deeply loved, each will be trained until he or she conforms to the standard of behavior required of all the members of that family.
Tuesday: Hebrews 12:8
Verse 8: In a healthy family it would be unthinkable for a child to be left out of this process. For any parent to ignore a child, denying him or her the time, energy and emotion it takes to be properly trained, means the child is unloved. This type of parental abandonment often occurs to children who have been fathered outside the bounds of the family. They are illegitimate children and not sons. But God is not an unhealthy parent and He loves each of His children. He does not consider any one of them to be of less value than another (Ac 10:34). He prizes each one equally and not one will ever be denied His fatherly training.
Wednesday: Hebrews 12:9
Verse 9: As believers we must think of God as our spiritual father. Jesus taught us to call Him Our Father (Mt 6:9). He wanted us to recognize that though we have a human father, we also have a spiritual father. From one we received a physical body, and from the other we received both biological life and spiritual life. The author of Hebrews is making this same distinction here. Hes telling us that both our human father and our divine father have a right to discipline us. If we accepted our human fathers authority to guide our development by teaching, encouraging and even painful correction, then why would we not acknowledge our Heavenly Fathers authority to do the same?
Thursday: Hebrews 12:9
Verse 9 (continued): The author wrote to people living in a culture which held to a hierarchy of authority in the structure of a family. Fathers were expected to discipline their children and children were expected to receive that discipline submissively. This is why he is able to say so confidently, we had earthly fathers (lit: fathers of the flesh) to discipline us, and we respected them
because most of his readers did. As children they had accepted their fathers discipline without question, so now he asks them,
shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? We have within us not only physical life from our physical father, but also spiritual life from our spiritual father, and we must place ourselves under His authority, trusting that He is good, wise and faithful in His care of us. Doing so will ensure that we shall live. However, those who reject His parental authority and become bitter, put themselves on a road leading to death (Heb 3:7-19).
Friday: Hebrews 12:10
Verse 10: Earthly fathers disciplined us for a few days according to the thing seeming good to them
(literal), but our spiritual father disciplines us for our good (profit, benefit) so that we may share in His holiness. The life of faith brings to every believer persecution, temptation and situations requiring patience and self-denial. Though the process is painful God uses it to shape our character until we share His holiness. He wants us to be humble, selfless, patient, kind and courageous. The discipline we received from human fathers was marred by their own ignorance and selfishness, but the discipline we receive from our Heavenly Father comes from His perfect love and is designed only for our good. Knowing this should help us gladly submit to Him.
Saturday: Hebrews 12:11
Verse 11: Even though it may be good for us, no one enjoys being disciplined. At the time we feel sorrow, not joy. Only after its over, or at least enough time has passed for us to gain perspective, do we recognize that positive changes have taken place. We discover new attitudes and sensitivities have grown in us. Weve become better people, and were not even sure when the change took place. It came slowlyunnoticeablylike fruit grows, and with it came a new peace inside us. Like a well-trained child who has grown to value a parents discipline, we stop questioning God or arguing the unfairness of the situation (Ps 131), trusting in His love for us regardless of the circumstances. Then the author concludes this verse by pointing to another gift we receive when we submit to Gods discipline: righteousness. To be righteous means that our day-to-day behavior is in line with Gods standards. God considers us righteous when we repent and place our faith in Christ, but by disciplining us He produces real change in the way we behave.